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Gabriel Palmer stands in front of the soon-to-return Lino’s Pizza in East Hill Shopping Center’s food court on Friday morning.

Lino’s Pizza is making a return to East Hills Shopping Center under new ownership.

The pizza joint closed in July 2018 after 25 years in business. Lino Ingargiola had been the owner of Lino’s Original Pizza since 1999 after his uncles opened the eatery as Original Pizza in 1994.

Now, new owner Gabriel Palmer is helping Lino’s Pizza make a return.

“I was actually working down the hall at Journey’s and while I was in there, the marketing director came in and told me Lino’s was up for sale,” Palmer said. “I was intrigued instantly.”

Palmer is not new to pizza. His parents, David and Melissa Palmer, own Geneo’s Pizza and Pub, 809 Francis St. Growing up in a restaurant specializing in the Italian dish helped him prepare for his new role, he said.

“It should be fun following my parents’ footsteps,” Palmer said.

While Palmer grew up with Geneo’s recipes, fans of Lino’s can expect the same taste as before.

“Lino came in and trained me, and I’m fortunate enough to also learn from his sister-in-law Maria,” Palmer said. “Everybody can expect the same great recipes he offered for over 20 years.”

The pizza joint will return to its former location next to Chinex. It will be the third food court location to offer hot food after alongside Chinex and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.

Lino’s menu will concentrate on pizza, stromboli, calzones and pasta for now, but Palmer said he’d like to offer sandwiches and other items once the eatery is open.

The 19-year-old has long dreamed of owning his own business.

“Since I was very young, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Palmer said. “So whenever this came about, I didn’t want to let my age stop me. I have a great support system and some people helping me along this journey.”

Palmer hopes to open Lino’s Pizza before Christmas.

Another restaurant offering pizza and pasta is coming to the area next year.

Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom will be located at the corner of Belt Highway and Frederick Boulevard on property owned by East Hills Shopping Center.

Owner Jim Gardner previously owned Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill at 4016 Frederick Blvd. The property, along with adjoining property previously occupied by two hotels, was bought by Steven Craig with Craig Realty Group and is currently under development.

A recently installed sign near Pepper Jax Grill announces the opening of Old Chicago in spring 2020.

Jessica Kopp can be reached

at jessica.kopp@newspressnow.com or you can follow her on Twitter: @NPNOWKopp